The Paris and Mansfield senior boys and girls teams played in the first round of the Lavaca Invitational Tournament on Tuesday. The two schools split on the night with the Mansfield Lady Tigers winning the first game by a score of 56-41. The Paris Eagles won the second game of the session, beating the Mansfield Tigers by a score of 52-42.
Both Paris teams looked improved in their play on Tuesday after having time off to practice during the Thanksgiving break. The Lady Eagles played hard all night, but eventually succumbed to the relentless offensive and defensive pressure that came all night from the Lady Tigers. The Lady Tigers were able to frequently penetrate the lane with their quick guards, and on defense, maintained constant pressure on Paris, seemingly taking them out of their offense frequently. In the end, the pressure became too much for Paris, and Mansfield pulled away for the win. Lady Eagles coach Dustin Williams commented that his young team is making mistakes that young teams make, but will continue to improve. “We had the lead late in the third quarter. Had some foul trouble and ran out of gas at the end. We are a young team making young team mistakes, but we will continue to improve and to get better.” Jadyn Hart led Paris in scoring with 20 points and added 6 rebounds and 4 assists. Harlie Watts had 15 points on the night with 3 rebounds.
In the second game, the Paris Eagles got a big win against the Mansfield Tigers. The win is significant for the team as they near the start of conference season. It is important for this team to have success now to boost their confidence and to gel as a team before conference season begins. Paris defeated the physical Mansfield Tigers with good rebounding and timely shots that kept the team in the game until they were able to pull away in the second half. Paris coach Mike Foster was very pleased with his team’s effort against Mansfield. “Great team effort! Our best defensive game of the year.” Nick Bazyk led the Eagles in scoring with 20 points and also had 6 rebounds. Dylan Krigbaum had 13 points and 4 rebounds.
Both teams have and will continue to improve. For the Lady Eagles, the team has to find a way to respond to teams such as Booneville and Mansfield who played Paris tight with one-on-one and full court defensive pressure. Taking care of the basketball and handling the press on offense are a must as teams will continue to play the Lady Eagles this way until they show they can handle the tough defensive pressure. The team improved in all of these areas on Tuesday night, and I believe they will continue to improve.
For the boys, they entered the season with very little team experience on the varsity level, and it showed in the first games of the season in November. But with each game, the team continues to improve and seems to be finding the combination of players that can score and play good team defense. One thing is for certain, nobody can question both teams’ heart or desire to win. Nobody can question the effort the teams have put out on the floor with each game. As with the girls team, the Eagles are made up of good kids who are working very hard to win games. All they need is a little encouragement. They may be short on experience, but they will gain experience with each trip on the floor. And I also know this, they will continue to give 100% in each game. As fans and others who are connected with the team, we need to give them 100% of our support and encouragement in return.
The Lady Eagles next game will be today against The Future School Rockets (Fort Smith) at 4 p.m. in the consolation bracket of the Lavaca Tournament. The senior boys will play on Thursday in the winners side of the Lavaca Tournament on Thursday at 5:30 p.m. versus Pea Ridge.